Located in central Tokyo it is for sure one of the most interesting spots in the city, offering to the visitors an authentic overview of how huge and serious the fish business actually is in Japan.
The activity at the market starts around 3:00 a.m. with the arrival of the products from all over the world. Tons of frozen tuna and other goods are first unloaded from trucks and then inspected by the auction houses in order to estimate their value.
Consecutively all the goods are observed and carefully evaluated by the potential buyers before the real auction starts.
Afterward, the purchased fish is either loaded onto trucks to be shipped to the next destination or on small carts and moved to the many shops inside the market.
As soon as the shop owners receive the goods, they carefully start preparing the products for retail in their small stalls. In case of large fish, cutting and preparation is extremely elaborate and, for accuracy and precision, it's really a show that's worth watching. Frozen tuna and swordfish are often cut with large band saws in a way that could remember cutting of large trees in a sawmill, while fresh tuna is carved with extremely long knives and can be elegant like a dance.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the market is the activity of the cart drivers. They can drive electric carts or old fashioned hand cart but all of them are just running as fast as they can in the narrow alleys around the market, delivering boxes of fresh fish to the retailers.
Walking between the narrow lanes of stalls is a tough job, with buyers and workers rushing everywhere with their pallet trucks zipped all over, transporting white polystyrene boxes around.
Particularly impressive is the amount of empty boxes that can be produced in a huge market like this. After a few hours, outside the Market's main buildings, literally small hills of polystyrene grow up surrounded by a multitude of busy people collecting and taking apart the white boxes.
In my photo essay, I mainly focused on the human activity that is going on around the market and that keep it alive everyday, guiding the reader inside the colorful kaleidoscope of social life that is daily running in Tsukiji.